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REDD in the news: 25-31 May 2015

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REDD-Monitor’s weekly round up of the news on REDD, forests and climate. The links are organised by date (click on the title for the full article). REDD-Monitor’s news links on delicious.com are updated regularly. For past REDD in the news posts, click here.

 

25 May 2015

China’s Hubei carbon market postpones compliance deadline to June: Industry
The Economic Times, 25 May 2015
The carbon exchange in China’s Hubei is likely to postpone a May compliance deadline by about a month as the province tries to tackle a massive glut that is currently weighing on the market, industry sources said. Nearly 140 market participants were supposed to surrender their permits this month to comply with their targets, but Hubei has not yet come to an agreement on emission caps with local companies and has pushed the deadline to June, companies and brokers familiar with the situation said. Hubei government officials could not be immediately reached for a comment.

Malawi forests shrink as power deficit fuels charcoal business
By Karen Sanje, Reuters, 25 May 2015
Impoverished villagers are hacking down Malawi’s forests to make charcoal, undeterred by government efforts to confiscate the dirty fuel as a power deficit stokes demand. Only 9 percent of the southern African country’s population have access to electricity, ensuring a good market for the charcoal produced by communities living near forests. The fuel is sold mainly in urban and semi-urban areas where even those who do have a power connection cannot afford electricity for cooking. Alex Thom, standing by his bags of charcoal on the roadside at Bale in Rumphi in northern Malawi, said he and others make charcoal by smoldering wood because it provides steady earnings. “This is our major source of income. The cash crops we grow are seasonal, which means there are parts of the year when we have nothing to sell. But we can store the charcoal and sell it later,” he said.

26 May 2015

In the forest, women’s voices not heard: report
By Barbara Fraser, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 26 May 2015
REDD+ – with its emphasis on the sustainable management of forests, is so often pitched to communities and what they can do to help ensure their futures. And even while civil society emphasizes helping the poor and indigenous forest communities, a new study from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) says that one group is very often overlooked: women. “The goal of REDD+ is to reduce emissions by changing the way people use forest resources,” said CIFOR principal scientist, Anne Larson, lead author of the study. “But unless we understand how forests are managed and how women use forests, there’s a risk that decisions will be made about forest use that could have a negative impact on women’s livelihoods and resilience.” Although REDD+ projects include safeguards aimed at ensuring that they do not harm women, they often focus only on women’s participation in meetings, without considering whether women feel included.

A simpler CDM can find home in ‘blended’ climate policy -Figueres
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 26 May 2015
Simplifying the CDM by loosening monitoring rules can help ensure it survives among the patchwork of climate policy instruments that will be needed to tackle global warming, the UN’s climate chief said on Tuesday. “In the beginning it was really important for the CDM to quantify (emission reductions) minutiously, (but) as there is now such a need for more scale, it becomes unnecessary,” Christiana Figueres told delegates at the Carbon Expo in Barcelona. “I would rather get to volume and scale and calibrate materiality,” she added. Niclas Svenningsen, a senior UNFCCC official, stressed that simplifying the mechanism did not mean environmental integrity was not important, adding that it was time for a “more realistic stage” of the CDM. “(The CDM) has to work in a context. If you don’t find reasonable balance then it’s simply not going to work.”

Carbon Pricing Is Expanding: Initiatives Now Valued at Nearly $50 Billion
World Bank, 26 May 2015
The new Carbon Pricing Watch compiles the latest data on formal carbon pricing initiatives around the world. Several carbon taxes and one of the world’s largest emissions trading systems started in the past year and a half, and more are planned in the coming years. The new and existing systems are also evolving. California and Quebec linked their markets. China has been learning from its seven local carbon markets as it plans for a national emissions trading system. “An effective carbon price is an essential, if insufficient, part of a policy package that can lower emissions and drive the economy toward a low-carbon, resilient future,” said World Bank Group Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change Rachel Kyte. “It makes pollution more expensive, incentivizes efficiency and clean production, and helps business leaders and investors understand the long-term direction of travel.”

Opinion Rivaling Gold: Ecological Assets Outperform Traditional Commodities
By William G. Coleman, Ecosystem Marketplace, 26 May 2015
The market value of compensatory mitigation credits for wetland, stream and species conservation have risen consistently over the past decade, according to a recent review of publically available mitigation credit price data undertaken by Eco-Asset Solutions Inc. (EASI) of Redwood City, California. EASI analyzed over 500 available internet records on price information for wetlands and stream credits, California species and habitat credits, along with nutrient credits traded in the Chesapeake Bay and the Susquehanna River Basin. These records ranged from as far back as the late 1980s to this year. The outcome of this comprehensive research is the Mitigation Credit Price Report.

[EU] CO2 market fix: Environment Committee MEPs back deal with Council
European Parliament press release, 26 May 2015
A reform of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), informally agreed with the Latvian Presidency of the Council of Ministers, was backed by the Environment Committee on Tuesday. The reform aims to reduce the surplus of carbon credits available for trading in order to support the price of the emission rights. The scheme would start operating in 2019. The proposed law would create a system that automatically takes a portion of ETS allowances off the market and into a reserve if the surplus exceeds a certain threshold. In the opposite scenario, allowances could be returned to the market. The surplus of emission allowances, which has been building up in the system since 2009, is estimated at over 2 billion.

[Germany] Deutsche Bank Agrees to Pay $55 Million to SEC
By Eyk Henning, The Wall Street Journal, 26 May 2015
Deutsche Bank is trying to move beyond its period of scandals and alleged malfeasance. It unveiled a new strategy in late April designed to boost its profitability and share price. In another positive move for the bank, a Frankfurt prosecutor last week cleared Deutsche Bank executives of possible involvement in an alleged carbon-trading scheme. German media reports recently suggested that some senior executives at the bank knew that individual traders were allegedly involved in a tax-fraud scheme in the market for carbon credits. Deutsche Bank said last week it was informed by the public prosecutor’s office in Frankfurt “that based on the documents regarding the CO2 matter provided by Deutsche Bank on April 24, 2015, there is no reason for the Public Prosecutor to open an investigation against members of Deutsche Bank’s management board.”

Scoping REDD+ site in Myanmar
ICIMOD, 26 May 2015
On 26 March 2015, Thursday, an ICIMOD team comprising REDD+ Initiative Coordinator Bhaskar Karky and Communications Specialist Gopilal Acharya made a visit to Kabani Community Forest Project in Bagan, Myanmar. The site visit was part of the ongoing scoping missions headed by Bhaskar Karky. In Myanmar, the site in Bagan was recommended by the Department of Forests under the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forests, Government of Myanmar.

[UK] Experts warn of boiler room scam boom
By Sarah Coles, AOL Money UK, 26 May 2015
The key to protecting yourself is simply to assume that no legitimate investment company will ever call you out of the blue in order to persuade you to part with your money. Even if their patter sounds convincing, their documents look good, and the name of the firm and the consultant checks out with a quick internet search, you still need to assume that you are not dealing with the real thing. If you want to invest your money, you shouldn’t be responding to cold calls, but identifying reputable businesses and individuals through research and recommendations. If you suspect you have been contacted by a bogus firm, you should make a note of each email and call, and keep any paperwork you are sent. Then you need to report your suspicions to the FCA, the police and to Action Fraud, who can investigate.

[USA] California ‘Under 2 MOU’ Demonstrates Ambition And Bottom Up Support For GHG Reductions In The Lead Up To COP 21
By Jennifer A. Smokelin, Todd O. Maiden and Phillip H. Babich, mondaq.com, 26 May 2015
On May 19, 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown entered into a Memorandum of Understanding on Subnational Global Climate Leadership (the “MOU”) with eleven other leaders from jurisdictions in North America, South America and Europe. In addition to Governor Brown, the 11 other signatories represented: Acre, Brazil; Baden-Württemberg, Germany; Baja California, Mexico; Catalonia, Spain; Jalisco, Mexico; Wales, UK; Ontario, Canada, British Columbia, Canada, Oregon, U.S.A., Vermont, U.S.A., and Washington, U.SA. The MOU’s general objective is to limit increases in the global average temperature. The MOU sets forth a list of policy initiatives with the hope of keeping the average global temperature from rising no more than 2° Celsius. The MOU is not a contract, nor is it a treaty, and it has no binding effect on the signatories, or on businesses operating within those jurisdictions.

27 May 2015

‘Forgotten’ forests need climate cash to halt emissions
By Alex Pashley, RTCC, 27 May 2015
Chopped down for timber and cleared by agribusiness, deforestation counts for a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. That’s just shy of what China gushes into the atmosphere. You wouldn’t know it. “Too often landscapes and forests are the forgotten part of the climate discussion,” Justin Adams of the Nature Conservancy said.There isn’t a lack of “conservation capital” to flow into so-called sequestration projects, which pay countries to protect trees through carbon credits. Just the pipeline of certified programmes needs to be broadened, so waiting investors can deploy capital, experts at an industry conference in Barcelona said on Wednesday. They assessed the “green growth component” of forests and landscapes to bridge the “emissions gap”. That’s how much the UN’s Environment Programme says the world is overshooting CO2 levels consistent with limiting temperature rise to 2C.

Carbon tax or trade? Debate loses steam as world embraces both
By Barbara Lewis and Susanna Twidale, Reuters, 27 May 2015
Tax versus trade is an issue that has stalked the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) over its 10 years of existence, but is fading in importance as the world moves towards increased use of both methods of cutting greenhouse gas pollution. The European Union set up the ETS in 2005 as a way of getting round policy-making rules that require the unanimity of member states to decide on a tax. Following years of legislative fine-tuning to overcome problems such as a glut of carbon allowances, they say it is on track and has advantages over a tax because it can be linked to a political target to cut emissions. China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, is convinced. It aims to launch a national ETS next year, following on from pilot regional schemes.

Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News
Ecosystem Marketplace, 27 May 2015
Though they came onto the voluntary carbon market scene just a few years ago, projects that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) have quickly risen to become one of the most sought-after offset types, according to Ecosystem Marketplace’s State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2015 report. For the first time, the report culls together over a decade of historical data to look at key trends in transaction volumes, prices, standard use, and other phenomena over time – with a focus on how the experience of the voluntary market has informed carbon pricing policies from California to South Africa. Though you’ll have to wait until June 3rd to get the details, we can tell you that forestry plays strongly in this narrative.

[Australia] Concerns raised after Federal Government awards millions of dollars to old emissions reduction projects
By Steve Cannane and Brigid Andersen, ABC News, 27 May 2015
The Federal Government has awarded tens of millions of dollars worth of new contracts to companies for emissions reduction projects that have been running for years, raising concerns that some businesses are double-dipping and that climate targets will not be met. The centrepiece of the Coalition’s Direct Action plan is the reverse auction, in which companies with projects designed to abate emissions are awarded contracts through the Emissions Reduction Fund. Last month’s reverse auction awarded $660 million worth of contracts that will deliver about 5.4 million tonnes per year of abatement towards the 2020 emissions reduction target… LMS Energy won contracts estimated to be worth in excess of $100 million for its landfill gas projects. But Lateline understands that at least 25 out of 28 of the LMS projects were already established and some had been operational for more than a decade.

[Australia] Boiler rooms have your private information and they’ll use it against you
news.com.au, 27 May 2015
They are small, well-run, professional operations with a handful of dedicated staff who know to do their jobs well. But these aren’t the Australians that Tony Abbott wants to “have a go” and contribute to the economy. These so called “boiler rooms” exist only to take your money… Warren Day, the senior assessment and intelligence executive at ASIC, said a lot of work had gone into uncovering what was fuelling the boiler rooms. “The real question is how do they know how to target… We do know people who put their names down on mailing lists and competitions, if you’re in shopping centre for example, or fill in a survey where you’re in the running to get an iPad, or if you say, ‘Yes I’d like to be marketed to about financial service, or buy tickets online’. If you do all of this your name goes into a marketing database,” Mr Day said. The Australian Crime Commission had determined those databases could be sold and eventually “end up in hands of these scammers”.

UNDP to give Bangladesh $8.75m for climate change adaptation
Financial Express, 27 May 2015
The United Nations Development Programme has pledged to provide $8.75 million to save Bangladesh’s coastal areas from the adverse impact of climate change in three separate projects. The projects are part of the Bangladesh’s national programme of United Nations’ collaborative initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD). To this end, UNDP Bangladesh, Economic Relations Division (ERD) and Ministry of Environment and Forests today struck deals for the projects at the ERD in city’s Sher-e-Banglanagar. UNDP Country Director Pauline Tamesis, Additional Secretary of ERD M Ashadul Islam and Additional Secretary of Environment and Forest Ministry Abdullah Al Mohsin Chowdhury put pen on the the documents on behalf of their respective organisations.

Greenpeace calls for probe into DR Congo wood trade
Agence France Presse, 27 May 2015
Greenpeace on Tuesday called on the United States, Europe and China to launch probes into companies selling lumber from the Democratic Republic of Congo where illegal logging is damaging the country’s forests. “Authorities must use every route open to them, including human rights and labour laws as well as conventions… to stop illegal and destructive trade,” the environmental group said in a new report on the timber trade in the resource-rich country. The report is the result of a two-year Greenpeace investigation into the logging concessions operated by Lebanese-owned firm Cotrefor as well as the ports around the world where the wood is exported and sold. Greenpeace concludes the company’s practices — which allegedly include mistreating employees, the non-payment of taxes and exceeding quotas for felling endangered trees — are putting at risk Bonobo chimpanzees and a precious variety of wood called afrormosia.

In Indonesia, corporate commitment to sustainable palm oil
By Thomas Hubert, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 27 May 2015
It is the most debated of oils. For many environmentally conscious consumers in developed countries, it is something to boycott, associated with the destruction of orangutan habitat. For poor families across the developing world, it is an economical food to buy at the lowest possible cost. For millions of farmers in developing countries, it is the basis of their livelihoods, a crucial driver of rural economic growth, and a major export income earner. Through recent initiatives, businesses and governments involved in the palm oil supply chain have agreed that they want to keep developing it – but in a sustainable way. Their challenge is to define what sustainable means – and to find ways of achieving it. Researchers from the Center for International Forestry (CIFOR) have described the destruction of swathes of rainforest to make way for palm oil, in Indonesia and Malaysia, as an “ecological disaster”.

Norway oil fund plans to withdraw from coal-burning utilities
By David Crouch and Pilita Clark, Financial Times, 27 March 2015
High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/bc336430-04b8-11e5-adaf-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz3bPWdWNlU Norway’s $916bn oil fund will consider pulling billions of dollars of investments out of coal in a move that threatens European utilities using the fossil fuel to generate power. Members of the finance committee of Norway’s parliament confirmed on Wednesday night that opposition and governing parties had reached agreement that the fund should withdraw investments from companies whose business relies more than 30 per cent on coal, measured either by revenue from fossil fuel or by the percentage of power they generate from it.

PNG Forest Minister expects REDD+ to become law
Radio New Zealand News, 27 May 2015
Papua New Guinea’s Forestry Minister says PNG is close to bringing into law a UN programme aimed at reducing emissions and conserving forests. Douglas Tomuriesa says the framework for REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) should become law in the current parliament sitting. The programme aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through forest management in developing countries, and is linked to the emerging carbon credits market. Mr Tomuriesa says legislation has passed through its first reading and the government has identified five major forest areas in PNG to conserve. He says a number of developed countries considering reducing their emissions are looking at the carbon market. “Where do they buy carbon credits for these emissions? Well, Papua New Guinea is here, and Papua New Guinea is putting its hands up to say that, hey, we’re prepared to conserve our forest for REDD programmes for you to buy carbon credits.”

28 May 2015

Forests for a sustainable future: CIFOR’s 2014 annual report
Center for International Forestry Research, 28 May 2015
Peat fires in Sumatra, forestry degrees in the DRC, the world’s largest reforestation program in China, timber growers in Peru and Indonesia, adaptation in the Sahel, and global bushmeat networks: just some of the topics that CIFOR’s research covered in 2014, through 70 active projects in 42 countries. Now available, our Annual Report 2014: Forests for a sustainable future showcases how CIFOR is focused on these topics and more, helping keep forests, landscapes and forest communities high on the global development agenda.

Abundant promise, abundant risk: Formalization of natural resource trade
By Robert V S Redick, CIFOR Forest News Blog, 28 May 2015
The move toward formalization of trade in natural resources in developing countries—from timber and rattan to chicle and cashews—must be undertaken with care, a new analysis of natural resource laws across the globe suggests. Although most trade in natural resources is governed by national and international laws, a wide variety of informal rules, practices and customs persist. Such informal sectors are often highly organized and successful, but they can also lead to unsustainable use of land and resources and entrenched poverty, which has many governments and institutions seeking to regulate them. “There are such systems everywhere we work in tropical forest areas,” says Louis Putzel, a senior scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and a guest editor of a recent special issue on formalization in the journal Society & Natural Resources.

Global aviation CO2 mechanism won’t be ready to sign by 2016 -IATA
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 28 May 2015
A global aviation offsetting mechanism won’t be ready in time for countries to adopt it at the next ICAO Assembly meeting in 2016, an official from airline association IATA said on Thursday, meaning a key deadline would be missed that could trigger fresh EU proposals to re-apply its regional measure. “Will there be a fully developed scheme in time for ICAO? No. There has been a lot of progress but there’s still a lot of work to be done next year to get states and operators ready to take this on,” Andreas Hardeman, IATA’s assistant director of environment policy, told the Carbon Expo in Barcelona on Thursday. At the previous ICAO Assembly in 2013, countries agreed to let the UN aviation body craft an offsetting system by 2016 to take effect from 2020 to help the sector achieve carbon neutral growth and a 50% cut in emissions on 2010 levels by 2050.

Carbon Expo attendance up 30% from 2014 as CO2 pricing initiatives pick up pace
By Mike Szabo, Carbon Pulse, 28 May 2015
Carbon Expo – the main annual event for the global carbon market and climate finance industry – welcomed more than 2,200 visitors from 109 countries this week, some 30% more than last year, organisers said. Attendance numbers for the trade show and conference held this year in Barcelona recovered from 2014’s low of around 1,700, but are still well below the more than 3,000 that have attended in years past. Spain’s King Felipe VI, who opened the expo, was also a big draw for many keen visitors who snapped photos and took videos of his grand entrance and subsequent keynote address on their smartphones. There was a sense of cautious optimism among attendees that the global march of national and sub-national carbon pricing mechanisms would continue, and accelerate following a climate change agreement in Paris.

World Bank to hold first CER auction under PAF on July 15
By Ben Garside, Carbon Pulse, 28 May 2015
The World Bank will host the first methane-cutting CER auction under its Pilot Auction Facility (PAF) on July 15, it announced on Thursday at the Carbon Expo in Barcelona. The auction will offer $25 million in tradable put options, giving winning companies the right to sell their CERs to the bank at a fixed price for emission reductions made over the next five years. Bidding will start at $8/tonne, nearly 20 times the current price of CERs in the EU ETS, and the options will be awarded to the lowest-priced bids. Credits will be retired and not counted towards any countries’ compliance with emission targets. The PAF has a targeted capitalisation of $100 million, with the US, Germany, Switzerland and Sweden collectively pledging $53 million.

China climate official flags potential later start for national ETS
By Mike Szabo and Stian Reklev, Carbon Pulse, 28 May 2015
China might push back the start of its national carbon market to early 2017, some six months later than planned, to ensure that all the scheme’s rules and regulations are finalised in time, an NDRC climate change official said. The NDRC announced last year the national ETS would begin in the second half of 2016, but much work remains in designing the market, which is expected to be the world’s biggest carbon market by the end of the decade. “(Launching in) 2016 is a very aggressive target. If everything goes well, maybe we can launch next year, but personally I think 2017 is more feasible,” Wang Shu, deputy director for climate change at the NDRC, told Carbon Pulse on the sidelines of the Carbon Expo conference in Barcelona on Wednesday… Wang confirmed that a certain amount of domestic offsets would be allowed in the national market, but that restrictions would apply.

France invites Britain’s Prince Charles to Paris climate conference
RFI, 28 May 2015
French Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal on Thursday invited Britain’s Prince Charles to the Paris climate change conference in December on a personal visit to his London home, handing over a written invitation from President François Hollande. Prince Charles has been invited to the December conference, known as Cop21, which Hollande views as one of the most important events of his presidency, and to a preconference in July, Royal said after meeting the heir to the British throne at Clarence House. “The Prince of Wales can play a very important role with all the Commonwealth,” she said after the meeting, hailing his “long-running, and so precious, commitment” to the defence of nature.

PNG putting its hand up on REDD, says Forestry Ministry
Radio New Zealand, 28 May 2015
Papua New Guinea’s Forestry Minister Douglas Tomuriesa says he expects the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation-plus mechanism to become law in the current parliament sitting… As I speak the Minister Responsible for Climate Change and I, under the REDD+ programme, we’ve got the policy already gone through the first reading on the floor of parliament so our policy framework is already in place. This parliament will definitely vote it through and it will become law. There are certain areas, the REDD programmes, so far there are about five major areas in Papua New Guinea to conserve the forest for REDD programmes. As you know, Papua New Guinea is a developing nation so while the world wants us to conserve our forests and the REDD programmes we have put in this place. What has the world brought for our landowners? The people who will now give up their land for conservation and for REDD programmes, that’s another thing.

[USA] California carbon auction brings in another $1 billion
By Dale Kasler, The Sacramento Bee, 28 May 2015
California’s industrial firms spent another $1 billion in the most recent auction of carbon emissions credits, state officials said Thursday. The California Air Resources Board said its latest quarterly auction of carbon credits raised around $1.06 billion, making it one of the largest sales in the program’s 2 1/2-year history. Prices ranged from $12.10 to $12.29 per ton, which is roughly in line with previous auctions. The credits give the companies the right to emit greenhouse gases in the air. California’s system is linked to the Canadian province of Quebec, which means owners of credits can use them in either jurisdiction. The market-based approach, called cap-and-trade, is a centerpiece of California’s 2006 climate-change law. While most of the credits are handed out for free, participants have to buy the rest, either on the open market or through the quarterly state-run auctions.

29 May 2015

Countdown to Paris: 10 climate concerns related to forests and land use
By Stephen Leonard, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 29 May 2015
It is expected that REDD will receive some recognition in a new climate agreement, although momentum has been lost because of lack of finance, and many countries continue to struggle with its implementation beyond the subnational level. Not only is REDD one to watch in the ADP negotiations, but there also remain outstanding ‘cosmetic’ issues to be completed within the SBSTA as a part of the agreed Warsaw REDD Framework. Parties seem unable to reach agreement on matters concerning further guidance on safeguards information systems, non-carbon benefits and non-market mechanisms. As long as these issues remain unresolved, the implementation of REDD ‘in country’ will be weakened, as is its overall momentum. It is important for Parties to make progress on these issues in Bonn and avoid taking up unnecessary time in Paris.

First-of-its-kind mapping technique sheds new light on tropical forests
By Shreya Dasgupta, mongabay.com, 29 May 2015
Scientists at the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts have developed vegetation height maps for the entire tropics at very fine spatial scales. These first-of its-kind high resolution maps can help researchers estimate forest cover, monitor biodiversity and wildlife habitats, and manage and monitor timber, according to a recent press release by WHRC. The WHRC researchers, led by senior scientist Josef Kellndorfer, combined two active remote sensing systems – radar and lidar – to create these maps. These active remote sensors send out pulses of electromagnetic waves – microwaves in the case of radar and light waves in the case of lidar – to map the earth’s surface. Passive remote sensors, on the other hand, depend on the sun to illuminate parts of earth, and then detect the energy reflected or re-emitted by the different objects on earth.

UN Fosters Use of Pre-2020 Carbon Credits for Climate Plans
By Mathew Carr, Bloomberg, 29 May 2015
The United Nations climate secretariat’s head of carbon-market demand encouraged countries to use existing credits created under the Kyoto Protocol to meet emission-reduction targets even after that pact ends in 2020. While some countries plan to cancel certain existing credits, Niclas Svenningsen said the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change hasn’t received such instructions and doesn’t intend to delete offsets in its registry. Using UN credits would spur demand in a market that some perceive ends at the end of the decade, when Kyoto may be replaced with a new global climate treaty, he said in an interview Thursday. “Both pre- and post-2020 action will contribute to reaching the targets,” Svenningsen said in Barcelona. “2020 is an artificial border. We shouldn’t have this division where we say everything up to 2020 doesn’t count any longer. That’s ridiculous.”

Green skies for aviation industry behind schedule
By Alex Pashley, RTCC, 29 May 2015
As passengers numbers soar and new carriers crisscross the skies, the aviation industry aims to achieve “carbon-neutral growth” from 2020. It has a voluntary goal to halve emissions from 2005 levels by mid-century. The sector’s carbon footprint is equivalent to the seventh largest country in the world. But a key tool in crimping airlines’ emissions will miss a deadline to be adopted at the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO’s) next meet in 2016, according to an official involved in proposals. Andreas Hardeman, deputy assistant director at the International Air Transport Association, told the Carbon Expo in Barcelona on Thursday an offsetting mechanism wouldn’t be ready by the triennial conference.

Mid-year talks to shape fate of climate pact
AFP, 29 May 2015
Negotiators are gearing for twin meetings next week that may determine whether the vaunted 2015 Paris climate accord will be a big bang or a fizzle. A 10-day conference under the UN flag starts in Bonn on Monday, followed by the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Bavaria on June 7 and 8. The two gatherings come at the crucial halfway point in the year’s crowded climate agenda. Everything is supposed to culminate in Paris on December 11 with a pact committing 195 countries to roll back greenhouse gases and help poor people exposed to climate change. Desperate to avoid a blowup in this combustible process, the chairmen have solicited national viewpoints and stuffed them all into the document. The bloated 80-page text will have to be trimmed into a manageable script for a post-2020 deal, and cosy consensus will be the victim. “People are now going to have negotiate, and things will get tense,” Tubiana told journalists on Thursday.

Saving Canada’s Boreal Forest
By Scott Weidensaul and Jeffrey V. Wells, The New York Times, 29 May 2015
Stretching from interior Alaska across Canada to Newfoundland, and sandwiched between the prairies and the Arctic, North America’s boreal forest is a mind-boggling 1.5 billion acres in size — bigger even than the vast rain forests of the Brazilian Amazon or the Congo. And despite the relentless pace of development and industrialization worldwide, 80 percent of it remains wild and intact. But that doesn’t mean that this region of cold-hardy trees, lakes, wetlands and tundra is safe. Corporations have their eyes on the land’s plentiful resources of minerals, timber, oil and gas, and on the hydropower potential of its many powerful, untamed rivers.

France defends ‘imperfect’ fossil fuel sponsors for Paris climate summit
By Arthur Neslen, The Guardian, 29 May 2015
Fossil fuel firms and big carbon emitters sponsoring the Paris climate summit in December are “a part of the problem” that delegates will address, but their patronage was unavoidable for financial reasons, senior French climate officials say. About 20% of the €170m (£122m) cost of the Paris conference will come from firms such as EDF, Engie (formerly known as GDF Suez), Air France, Renault-Nissan and BNP Paribas, the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius,said on Thursday. His announcement sparked outrage among NGOs, with Oxfam France denouncing the move as greenwash and hypocrisy, saying that the summit would now “be financed by French champions of pollution”. But senior French sources insist that while they would have preferred funding from renewable energy companies, they had been impelled to take a “pragmatic choice”.

[Guyana] Minister Trotman to manage Natural Resources Sector
INews Guyana, 29 May 2015
Recently sworn in Minister of Governance within the Ministry of Presidency, Raphael Trotman will be responsible for the oversight of the management of the nation’s natural resources. A press statement has since noted that Trotman will now occupy the office on Upper Brickdam and has already met with the staff of the Ministry. “The Minister has commenced scheduled familiarization meetings and visits to the several agencies under his portfolio. During the coming weeks the Minister also intends to meet with international, donor, private sector organizations, other development partners and stakeholders of the governance and natural resources sectors,” the press release noted.

[UK] Diamond fraudsters fail jail for £1.5m family scam
The Telegraph, 29 May 2015
A family of fraudsters who bagged £1.5 million by selling vastly over-valued diamonds to unwitting punters in a “heartless” con are facing years behind bars on Friday. Mastermind Omar Eshpari, 35, and lover Anna Foord, 30, funded their lavish lifestyles and her shoe collection by flogging cheap coloured diamonds in the “boiler room” scam. They are joined in the dock by Omar’s father Farouq Eshpari, 55, mother Safia Eshpari, 53, and brother Hider Eshpari, 29. Smooth talking salesmen from Evolution Commodities Limited and Stonehouse Global Markets Limited cold called clients and promised diamonds were a better investment than gold and would pay handsome returns. But the diamonds were “what the miners leave on the floor” and the swindlers were using their victims as “cash cows”, Southwark Crown Court heard. Hider boasted he lived in a penthouse with a “high maintenance wife” and drove a top of the range Audi A6 before duping a retiree out of £15,500.

[UK] Nottingham ‘boiler room’ scam gang made £3m
BBC News, 29 May 2015
A “callous” gang that made £3m selling shares in fake companies bought luxury cars and holidays, police said. They ran the so-called “boiler room” scam from Majorca to call potential UK investors, City of London Police said. More than 100 people, many elderly or vulnerable, were conned, with one man handing over £74,000, the force said. The five men, from Nottingham, were jailed at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday after admitting conspiracy to defraud and money laundering offences. Det Con Toby Larkin said the jailing of the “callous” gang sends a clear message to like-minded scammers. People had handed over cash believing they were buying shares in genuine gold mining or pharmaceutical firms – but, both did not exist… Police started tracking the gang in 2009 as they travelled between the Midlands and Spain, after receiving complaints from concerned investors.

[UK] Boiler room fraudsters jailed over £3m investment scam
By Jun Merrett, Citywire, 29 May 2015
A gang of fraudsters who made more than £3 million selling fraudulent gold mining and pharmaceutical shares has been jailed after spending the money on luxury cars. The gang was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court following an investigation by the City of London. Abdul Khan received six years and nine months imprisonment, Rahim Karim five years and eight months, Nadeem Amin four years and Anthony Baugh five years after all had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.

30 May 2015

[Indonesia] National scene: Govt claims larger protected forest area
The Jakarta Post, 30 May 2015
After the issuance of a decree extending a forest-clearing ban, the Environment and Forestry Ministry has released a new moratorium map that enlarges the protected forest area. The eighth revision since the ban was implemented in 2011, the new map protects 65 million hectares of primary forests and peatland, about a million hectares more than the previous revision to the map, which was made in November last year. Due to the absence of a single map to define the country’s land use, the government updates the protected areas covered by the moratorium every six months. New land-conversion permits based on commitments made before the moratorium was established often affect the map’s layout. “With this ministerial decree [on the eighth moratorium map revision], all governors, regents and mayors should refer to the latest revision in making new location permits,” said the Environment and Forestry Ministry’s head of public relations, Eka W. Soegiri…

31 May 2015

[Guyana] Iconic timber species overharvested, near commercial extinction
Stabroek News, 31 May 2015
Guyana’s greenheart, purpleheart and more recently, wamara and itikiboroballi species are overharvested and are extinct or approaching commercial extinction in accessible forests, according to forestry expert Janette Bulkan, despite denials by the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC). “The ratio of their log volumes to total log volumes far exceeds the ratio of the volumes of the standing trees in the forest to total forest volume,” Bulkan wrote in a recent letter to Stabroek News. [R-M: Subscription needed.]


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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